Lack of correlation between fluctuating asymmetry and morphological masculinity/femininity in primate skulls
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
International journal of primatology. - New York
, p. 113-123
University of Antwerp
As both degree of masculinity/femininity in sexually dimorphic organisms and developmental instability are put forward as indicators of individual quality, they are expected to correlate positively. However, the results in the literature are equivocal. One reason may be that most research has been performed in populations exposed to relatively low levels of parasitism. This article studies associations between the degree of masculinity/femininity and the fluctuating asymmetry (a measure of developmental instability) of skulls of three primate species [baboon (Papio anubis), eastern lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri), and chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)] collected in the wild. The exposure to infection and parasites is likely to be higher in these individuals compared to captive primates and humans, and therefore likely to increase the levels of association. While the degree of individual masculinity/femininity and levels of fluctuating asymmetry were quantified accurately, I found no evidence of an association between them. My results thus are in line with the conclusion of a recent meta-analysis, that there is little evidence for associations between masculinity/femininity and developmental instability.